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GOP-Backed Texas Voter ID Law Could Help Wendy Davis

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AP Photo / Nick Wass

The hope among Davis supporters is that the Texas voter ID law will actually motivate women to vote Democratic, even if they weren't likely to in the first place. Jessica McIntosh, communications director for the pro-woman, pro-Democratic fundraising group EMILY's List, said that women are taking note of the voter ID law and how they create new barriers to voting and "are going to see through it." She said the law is likely to push more women voters in places like Texas and elsewhere to vote for Democrats.

"I mean that's...historically where women voters are going and I think it's pretty obvious because of the regressive agenda that Republicans are pushing," McIntosh said.

The Democratic Governors Association have slammed the law as a direct attack at both Davis and women voters in Texas.

"Texas Governor Rick Perry's voter ID law is a blatant effort to defeat Wendy Davis by disenfranchising tens of thousands of women voters," Democratic Governors Association senior adviser and spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote in a recent fundraising email a week earlier. "Gov. Perry and his handpicked successor, Greg Abbott, are trying to undo the voting rights women fought for - a century ago! It's downright anti-democratic. If Wendy had been Texas' governor, she would have stopped it cold."

But as Slate's Dahlia Lithwick recently noted, through talking to a number of election law experts, there's reason to believe that the law would actually disenfranchise more conservative women more than liberal men who change their names tend to fall on the more conservative side of the political spectrum. This is particularly important in a southern red states like Texas where divorce and remarriage rates are much higher than the rest of the country.

Matt Angle, who runs the Lone Star Project in Texas and serves as an adviser to Davis, said that one of the goals with the law has been to hit women voters. He added, though, that the new Texas voting law could make conservative women voters pause before casting their vote.

Republicans in charge of voting at the county level "know that for every one or two Republican women they turn away, they can turn away many more potential Democrats," Angle told TPM on Monday. "Now, that being said I would hope and you would think that there may be some Republican women who raise objections to it."

Angle added that perhaps Republican women could "create enough stink" over the new barriers to voting caused by the law to put pressure on Republican politicians, but he wasn't optimistic that it would actually change the party's views on Voter ID. He expected Republicans to stay in lock step in support of the new restrictions.

About The Author

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Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.